Welcome to the first trailer post of 2020 and the new decade!
I hope you are well.
My New Year’s Day was spent watching films and writing about them and eating some good home-cooked food made by my mother. Some Kon Ichikawa and Naomi Kawase to start the year! I then went back to work the very next day so that was a bit of a drag after 11 days off work relaxing. Oh well, I can’t complain about my job.
2020 might be the year when I switch.
As for this blog, business as usual. I spent the week reminiscing about the last decade with Monday’s post dedicated to my Top Ten Films of 2019 and Wednesday’s post given over to the Top 25 Films of the Decade. It’s a unique list compared to a lot of others I have seen on social media but that’s because I focus mostly on Japanese films.
Enough about the past! What about the present?
There’s a small but very diverse selection of films released this weekend, most of which look genuinely interesting. So…
What’s released this weekend?
さよならテレビ 「Sayonara Terebi」
Release Date: January 02nd, 2020
Duration: 109 mins.
Director: Koji Hijikata
Starring: Takahiro Araki, Ryuichi Ouchi, Yoshihiro Okada,
Synopsis: Documentarian Koji Hijikata (Yakuza and the Constitution) is back with another doc and this one looks at the current television through following Tokai Television, a private broadcaster that is trying to stay relevant in an age where young people have replaced television with the internet. Cameras follow the staff in the news department. The doc was originally broadcast exclusively in the Tokai region as a program commemorating the 60th anniversary of the opening of Tokai TV and it is now in cinemas with additional footage.
シネマ歌舞伎 廓文章 吉田屋 「Shinema Kabuki Kuruwa Bunshou Yoshidaya」
Release Date: January 03rd, 2020
Duration: 97 mins.
Starring: Tamasaburo Bando, Nizaemon Kataoka, Minosuke Bando, Keizo Otani, Yoshijiro Sawamura,
Synopsis: Excerpts from the performance for Kuruwa Bunsho Yoshidaya (link to synopsis), a kabuki tale set in Osaka where two lovers, one a courtesan and the other a disinherited son of a merchant family are kept apart by class boundaries. This has a relatively happy ending, thankfully. In addition to the stage footage, interviews with Nizaemon Kataoka are included as he talks about his life as an actor and his thoughts on this work and playing opposite famed onna-gata Tamasaburo Bando who takes on the role of the courtesan Yugiri.
河童II But, we have to rest. 「Kappa II But, we have to rest.」
Release Date: January 04th, 2020
Duration: 71 mins.
Director: Hokuin Akihara
Writer: Hokuin Akihara, Yukie Ochiai (Script), Ryunosuke Akutagawa (Original Work)
Starring: Jun Miho, Toshiki Ayata, Motoya Izumi, Bengal, Yuka Ueno, Masaharu Kawashima,
Synopsis: A woman named Futami, has loyally worked for a mid-sized company ever since graduating from high school. In her 40 years on the job, she has never encountered anything strange and is about to retire soon although that all changes when she finds a kappa at a shrine she visited for her company and falls into an alternate kappa world where she meets more of them. She realises that their lives are similar to those of humans and she also realises that she wants to get home back to her world.
この世はありきたり 「Kono yo wa arikitari」
Release Date: January 04th, 2020
Duration: 63 mins.
Director: Taishi Shiode,
Writer: Taishi Shiode, (Script), Agasa Okada (Original Work)
Starring: Agasa Okada, Yuki Hoshino, Yukiko Taguchi, Takashi Matsumoto, Moe Tanaka, Yuki Okamoto, Hiroki Horikawa,
Based on a 2007 one-person play “Watashigatari” produced and directed by lead actress Agasa Okada, this was directed by Taishi Shiode of Death and Tanya fame. Out of all of the trailers, this one looks the best because of the lead actress’s energy.
Synopsis: Yuki thinks every day about whether she is a “special being”. That’s not uncommon but she gets caught up in all sorts of philosophical knots about her place on the Earth and in the universe.